When: Friday, October 25th, 7:00 PM CST
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
Memphis didn’t seem to enjoy things north of the border, eh? After a brutal trouncing by Toronto in their last game, the Grizzlies will hope to close out the preseason on a positive note when they take on the Houston Rockets in a matchup that could very easily be a preview of a playoff series in any of the first three rounds. The Grizzlies figure to match up well against the Rockets, considering Houston’s best players will be stuck dealing with Memphis’s best defenders. The duels between Marc Gasol/Dwight Howard and James Harden/Tony Allen figure to mark many of the meetings between these teams this year. Meanwhile, there are two things most basketball fans know:
1. Jeremy Lin is turnover prone
2. Mike Conley is one of the best ball-stealers in the league
This meas that in spite of Ln’s explosiveness, the pint guard match-up should favor the Grizzlies. Meanwhile, Z-Bo/Asik should have some fun moments as well. Actually, that might be the real story of this game; two of the league’s scariest front courts slugging out. Well, if the game mattered anyway.
Houston looks good. Quite good in fact. They made the biggest deal of the offseason when they convinced Dwight to come to town. You can’t blame him; he’s a great player, but the spotlight seems to frighten him, making Houston a much better destination than L.A.. Of course, that was hardly the lone reason; anyone would rather play with a healthy 24-year-old all-star shooting guard than an injured 35-year-old, and now, the Harden-Dwight duo looks to conquer the NBA. The question will be whether or not the supporting cast can get them there. Everyone loves Chandler Parsons, and he already seems good enough to be the third best player on a contender, but he take a further leap, and do for the Rockets what Chris Bosh does for the Heat? It’s a lot to ask, but Parsons has given the indication that he just might be up to the task. Meanwhile, Jeremy Lin will face a ton of scrutiny this year. With the glow of Linsanity long faded, Lin has proven to be quality NBA starter, but not much more. Now, he faces the added pressure of running a show for a team that expects to contend for a championship. He’s a talented created player, capable of making brilliant moves to the basket. However, as we discussed earlier, he’s very turnover prone, and he tends to disappear for entire games. He averaged 13.4 ppg last year, but that came from a combination of 20+ point nights, and games where he went 2-7 and scored four points. For the Rockets offense to thrive, Lin will need to be consistent, even with Dwight and Harden doing the heavy-lifting.
Be sure to keep tabs on:
-Patrick Beverley. One of the better backup point guards i the league, and while we may not want to admit it, he did us a big solid when he took Westbrook out.
– Nick Calathes. I just want to make sure we really do have a backup point guard.
– The Rockets offensive pace. They were the fastest team last year, but many expect Dwight to slow them down. Will that, combined with the Grizzlies disruptive nature cause them to morph into slow pokes tonight?